The New York Times reports: Paul Manafort is the rarest of professional pitchmen: one who knows how to sell to a salesman.
That was evident by the effort he made last year to gain a foothold in President Trump’s campaign, a successful pitch documented by letters and memos that were made available by a former Trump associate.
On Feb. 29, 2016, Mr. Manafort, the former lobbyist and Republican operative who now sits at the nexus of investigations into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, reached out to Mr. Trump with a slick, carefully calibrated offer that appealed to the candidate’s need for professional guidance, thirst for political payback — and parsimony.
The letters and memos provide a telling glimpse into how Mr. Trump invited an enigmatic international fixer, who is currently under investigation by United States intelligence services, a Senate committee and investigators in Ukraine, to the apex of his campaign with a minimum of vetting. The answer? Through family and friends, handshakes and hyperbole.
Mr. Manafort, who has not been accused of any crimes — and who denies any wrongdoing in his political, business and investment dealings — is nonetheless a central figure in the investigation into the interactions of Trump campaign officials with foreign governments. How he got to know Mr. Trump, and how he rose from overseeing the candidate’s operations at the Republican convention to the entire campaign, is very likely to be a focus during coming Senate hearings about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. [Continue reading…]